Say Their Names
Speaker 1: 00:00 Say their names is a new Memorial exhibit coming to San Diego honoring black lives lost to police brutality and systemic racism. The Memorial is part of a nationwide grassroots initiative spurred by the protest of 2020 to put names and faces to the more than 200 black lives lost due to racism. Guidy Finney is the executive director of the San Diego African-American museum of fine art. They are responsible for bringing the installation here to San Diego and Guidy joins us now. Guidy welcome. Speaker 2: 00:33 Thank you. Welcome. Thank you for having me, Speaker 1: 00:37 You know, what will people see when they look at this exhibit? Speaker 2: 00:41 Well, um, it's been a labor of love because I first saw this exhibit out of Dallas when they put it there. And at that time they were 212 of people that they were honoring with these pedestals. We hope that people see something very moving, um, a Memorial, if you will, of those people who have died and contemplate what has been, and also be a teaching moment. Um, Speaker 1: 01:07 Can you talk about why it's important to memorialize these victims to actually see their faces and say their names? Speaker 2: 01:15 Yeah, and the reason, in my opinion, why don't we say, say the names because they cannot be in black, should not be a reason to die, understand it, shouldn't it be a reason to be killed? And so all of us, as we watch those few seconds drain out of George Floyd's life, we all felt it because we carry this deep, deep inside of those, but we all have these things in ourselves, but these people had paid the ultimate price. Whereas us who was still around can say their names. Speaker 1: 01:55 Is there anyone in the exhibits specific to San Diego? Yeah, Speaker 2: 02:00 We have two actually, uh, Alfred Lavango who, uh, was an alcoholic and then Demetrius do both and Demetrius do both. It's interesting because there's a documentary being done about him by a gentleman named John chorus out of Chicago. And we are flying him in to be our keynote speaker at our ribbon. Cutting. So just those two, mind you there are there more, probably a, we can't say everybody, but that's what we have in the exhibit. Um, Speaker 1: 02:30 You know, what conversations do you hope people have when viewing these photos? Speaker 2: 02:36 Well, I, the conversations I'd like to see people have is to understand why we saved their names and that these people cannot, they paid the ultimate price just by being black. I mean, they're not seen as stellar individuals, but this is deep inside all of us and that this idea of systemic racism, what it does to your soul and to your mind, you know, you've heard that conversation that mothers have to have with their black sons about dealing with the police. So they want them to make it home. Again, you've heard this many incidents, even in my own life of times where I know of this had to be from systemic basis. So I want people to understand that it's not an abstract thing and that these people who were killed by systemic racism or police brutality shouldn't have been killed and they can't say their names anymore. So we must, we want people to understand why we're seeing the names because it could be any one of us. Hmm. Speaker 1: 03:37 You know, what, what conversations are you personally having around this movement to honor black lives lost? Speaker 2: 03:46 Personally? I know in my own experience, how many times that I have had, um, things happen to me with the police that should not have, I mean, I wasn't, I was working at an art gallery once in a place like LA Jolla and the police must've followed me because I parked my car and I had a ticket that was delinquent. Well, they came in an art gallery and handcuffed me in the art gallery in front of all the Patriots. I could not believe it. Even the judge when they heard about this dessert because of how horrible that is, what it does to you. And there's a number of experiences like that, but I've had to leave parties in Rancho Santa Fe, because I didn't want to be there driving while black. So I've told the host, look, I have to go because I'm scared to be out here. And so this is a normal thing. It's not an abstract thing. So I want people personally. I mean, that's how deep it is inside me, but this deep inside all the people that I know, all the black people, so it's not affect. I want people to understand this is, this is real. We need to change, and this can help teach. Speaker 1: 04:51 Do you think this exhibit highlights anything that is often missed when we have these conversations about black lives being taken from, from racial injustice and systemic racism? Speaker 2: 05:02 Yeah, I think it does. I mean, as an it's an art piece though, you know, it's not, it's not like I'm trying to bring the city down or anything like that. I'm trying to bring the community up. And so as an art piece that we and the board here really wanted to be a healing process that this heals people that people understand better, that you know, that race is racism. It's not something you're born with. You can get better from things like this teachable moments that happen that people can learn and discuss and teach their kids. And as we go forward, we are better. People Speaker 1: 05:42 Exhibit also recognizes San Diego's, local civil rights advocates. Tell me about some of the people featured and the impact their work has had on the movement. Speaker 2: 05:53 Uh, pastor Timothy, J winters, Bishop McKinney, um, Archie Moore, uh, Jerry Warren. These are people and there's quite a few more, there are 15 actually that have really contributed to, um, civil rights and making it better for African-Americans in San Diego. And so we want to honor them by having these families of them come and cut the ribbon to open the exhibit. So there'll be, all of those families are, will be here with scissors, uh, to help start this process. And the Speaker 1: 06:31 People you've mentioned put action to words. And I know the hope is that people will walk away from this exhibit doing more than just having conversations. Right? Speaker 2: 06:41 I think that they would want to have people come back, bring their families back, read the word. You know, this is only up for 19 days and we do that because it's outdoors. People can come almost at any time, but we have to secure it. And of course, um, and that was very expensive. So it was really hard to find a place that could have us this long. So make sure that they are able to come back before it's over with, we do plan on having a really beautiful performance art closing event on July 25th. And hopefully people will come to it. It's going to be beautiful, very, very touching moment and fun, like a new Orleans type of funeral on the 25th. As we close the exhibit, I've Speaker 1: 07:24 Been speaking with gaiety Finney, executive director of the San Diego African-American museum of fine arts Skydio. Thank you so much for joining us. You're very welcome. Thank you. The say their names Memorial exhibit open Saturday, July 10th at the new children's museum.